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Volkswagen Planning 7-Concept Blitz In Geneva?

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On: Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 5:17PM | By: Chris Weiss

Volkswagen Planning 7-Concept Blitz In Geneva?

It seems that the sheer volume of concept cars presented at any given motor show has become a measure of oneupmanship. Lotus set the bar at the Paris Motor Show last fall, fleshing out a new direction with six concept cars. Late last year, word came that a rather nominal player--Russian supercar manufacturer Marussia--will overshadow that Paris appearance with a seven-concept dais at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show this fall. And now it appears that Volkswagen has seven-concept show plans of its own, and it will beat Marussia to the punch, unveiling its concepts at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Of course the comparison between Volkswagen and Marussia or Lotus isn't exactly a fair one, as the former relates to an entire auto group--one of the world's largest. Rather than single-brand concepts, VW's debuts will be spread across its portfolio of brands with only two expected from Volkswagen itself. Still, though, seven concepts is an impressive tally.

The news comes straight from Europe from a conversation between Volkswagen Group’s head of design Walter de’Silva and Automotive News Europe. D'Silva indicated that as many as seven new concepts will make their world debut in Geneva, with two coming from Volkswagen, two from Audi, one from Seat and one from Skoda.

A little quick math tells us that there's one possible concept left. And with the aforementioned VW brands already present and accounted for, that means that there's likely to be a concept from one of VW's premium sports and luxury brands: Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini or Porsche.

A new Lamborghini Estoque, maybe? Seems a little premature, but you never know. A Porsche Cajun concept? Hopefully not. I guess we'll have to wait to see if there's anything to get really excited about.

While d'Silva was candid about the brands with Geneva concepts on the way, he wasn't quite as candid as to what those concepts would be. Recent rumors have pointed to the return of a VW Microbus, so VW might choose to wow Geneva-goers with a concept version of that. An educated guess would predict that Audi will stick to its tradition of presenting a new version of its e-tron EV, something that it's been doing at major auto shows since the original e-tron debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Whatever concepts Volkswagen debuts, they'll likely preview actual production models. According to Motor Trend, VW has poured some $71 billion into new vehicle development and production increases with an eye toward taking over the world's largest automaker spot by 2018. While Volkswagen has surpassed Toyota as the world's largest automaker in terms of partial year production and sales, Toyota has reported the world's largest sales for three years running. Volkswagen was the world's third largest automaker in 2010, behind Toyota and GM. If VW really wants to rise to the top within a few years, it won't likely waste much time with fantastical, never-going-to-happen concepts.

We'll have to be content to wait until Geneva (or a pre-Geneva leak/Internet debut) to see exactly what the VW Group has up its sleeve.


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